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Researchers, Hobbyists Developing Flying Grasping Robots

Researchers have been working on clever flying robots that can pick things up, and hobbyists are getting into the game as well

2 min read
Researchers, Hobbyists Developing Flying Grasping Robots

Last week, we brought you a bunch of different videos of aerial grasping robots, including robots from DARPA, UPenn, and Yale. Perhaps in response (or just because it's really freakin' cool), we've had a couple people write in with flying grasping robots of their own, including researchers from University of Twente in the Netherlands, and a scruffy-looking hobbyist from Trossen Robotics.

This first vid comes from the University of Twente, in the Netherlands. It's part of the AIRobots project, the goal of which is ::deep breath:: "to develop a new generation of aerial service robots capable to support human beings in all those activities which require the ability to interact actively and safely with environments not constrained on ground but, indeed, freely in air."


This particular AIRobot is being developed by professor Stefano Stramigiol, Raffaella Carloni, postdoc Matteo Fumagalli and Ph.D. student Abeje Y. Mersha.

[ AIRobots ]



It's kind of amazing how, just in the last few years, plummeting hardware costs and skyrocketing capabilities (which together are enough to give any sane roboticists severe motion sickness) have enabled the group of geniuses that we like to call "hobbyists" keep more or less up with just about whatever the latest research is, at least when it comes to the hardware itself.

Andrew Alter, one of the instigators of Mech Warfare and current senior executive robot geek at Trossen, writes:

I designed a modified PhantomX Hexapod and we built it out of carbon fiber so it'd be light enough to fly. Some friends at Mad Lab Industries are quadcopter gurus so building the rest of the custom hexacopter was a breeze.

Maybe a breeze for you guys, but coming up with what is essentially a hexacopter duct-taped to a hexapod that works is no small feat, as far as we're concerned. Check it:

Developing robots that can fly and move along the ground has been a priority for the military for a while, because flying robots are versatile but suck down batteries like nobody's business, while ground robots are, well, stuck on the ground. While perhaps not the most efficient of compromises, the hexapodocopter is (let's face it) pretty sweet, and there has to be some potential there just for that reason. So if anyone from DARPA is reading this, how 'bout tossing these guys some grant money to see what they can come up with?

[ Mad Lab Industries ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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